The bar in the new Rada building is one of the least depraved places I know: full of hard-working good looking young people drinking healthy coffees and smoling healthy cigarettes. But whenever I sit there, I remember a story about Edmund Kean, the original bad boy actor, in the Routledge Dictionary of Biographical Quotations.
March 16 … Kean about three o’clock in the morning, ordered a hackney coach to his door, took a lighted candle, got in, and rode off. He was not heard of till the Thursday noon when they found him in his room at the theatre fast asleep wrapt up in a large white greatcoat. He then sent for a potence, some ginger etc., and said, ‘Send me Lewis or the other woman. I must have a fuck, and then I shall do.’ He had it. They let him sleep until about six when they awoke him, dressed him, and he acted but was not very sober. After the play we got him to supper at Sigel’s lodgings and got him to a bedroom and locked him up till the morning. James Winston, Diary, 1825.
If you want a short definition of prostitution, it is to to spend your afternoons on call as a hangover cure.